The symptoms of mild cognitive impairment do not normally affect daily life very much, for some people they can get better overtime and for others they may stay the same or get worse.

For some people their symptoms of MCI do not get in the way of everyday life, but everyone’s experience is different.


MCI symptoms may include:

Memory- misplacing items or having trouble remembering recent conversations.

Attention - finding it difficult to concentrate, e.g. while watching a TV programme or carrying out duties at work.

Disorientation - confusion about time, date or place.

Thinking skills - problems with planning or completing tasks, e.g. managing money, or cooking a meal.

Communication - problems finding the right words.

Mood and behaviour - becoming irritable, anxious, or low in mood.


These symptoms may affect someone with MCI all of the time, or they might come and go. This will depend on the underlying cause.

When MCI is caused by the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia or another type of dementia symptoms will get worse over time and start to affect a person’s ability to carry out daily activities. This worsening can be very gradual and not noticeable to begin with.

Anyone experiencing any changes to their health, including mild changes to their memory, and thinking, should make an appointment with their doctor as soon as possible. Getting the right diagnosis is important.

Have you or a loved one been diagnosed with MCI?

If you have been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment and would like to share your story to inspire others or help shape our work please get in touch via


What is mild cognitive impairment?

This introductory leaflet aims to help you understand mild cognitive impairment. It’s for anyone who might be worried about their own or someone else’s memory.

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Alzheimer’s Research UK has a wide range of information about dementia. Order booklets or download them from our online form.

This information was updated in November 2021 and is due to be reviewed in November 2023. It was written by Alzheimer’s Research UK’s Information Services team with input from lay and expert reviewers.

Our information does not replace advice that doctors, pharmacists, or nurses may give you.


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